Law Office of Matt Michaels: Wills, Trust, and Estate Planning


Don't put your trust in money, put your money in trust. Oliver Wendell Holmes, (1841 - 1935). This sound advice is still true for many. The average person can protect their hard-earned assets from excessive taxes, swindlers, wasteful heirs, gov't agencies, publicity, and probate court entanglements. You can protect your assets during life and take care of your loved ones for a long time after you are gone - if you plan now. Comprehensive estate planning is not just for the rich. Everyone should have tailored documents ready when disruptive events occur during life and after death.


Each person's estate and goals are different; therefore, each person needs a tailored estate plan. For many people, a good estate plan consists of a simple will with durable powers of attorney for health care and finance. Others with more complicated situations may also need to define and fund multiple trusts. Finally, those with substantial assets and exposure to liability may require multiple components and business succession planning. Some estate plan components are listed here:​

  • Will: Directs your assets after you are gone.

  • Pour Over Will: Will clauses designating trusts for asset protection upon death.

  • Powers of Attorney for Health & Finance: Protects body and assets during life.

  • Testamentary Trust: A trust activated when you die.

  • Intervivos Trust: A trust active during your life (can be revocable or irrevocable).

  • A-B Trust: Formula based trust protects your estate beyond tax exemption limits.

  • Spendthrift Trust: Protects your assets after death from wasteful heirs.

  • Discretionary Trust: Allows Trustee(s) to "sprinkle" principle and/or income assets.

  • Revocable Trust: Protects assets while allowing you to retain control over them.

  • Irrevocable Trust: Protects (i.e., from government) but you give up some control.

  • Special Needs Trust: Protects from government pgm's while caring for someone.

  • Life Insurance Trust: Protects against excessive estate taxes.

  • Educational Trust: Allows the Trustmaker to provide for education of others.

  • Charitable Trust: Avoids excessive taxation through contributions to charity.

  • Pre-and Post-Nuptial Agreements: Protects spouses upon divorce.